The Netflix DOTA 2 anime is out now, and the community has already felt its impact. While the show has yet to result in the predicted flood of new players, it’s helped boost one DOTA 2 character’s popularity.
Netflix released the DOTA: Dragon’s Blood anime series on March 25th to mixed reviews. However, the show seems popular with viewers, earning a respectable 93% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s also propelled protagonist Davion the Dragon Knight to a trendy DOTA 2 pick.
According to Dotabuff, a website that tracks DOTA 2 stats, Davion’s pick rate jumped from 7.18% on the 23rd to 9.2% on the 27th. While there was some growth on the 24th, the spike began in earnest after the show’s debut on the 25th. The character saw a similar but less extreme spike earlier in the month, shortly after Netflix released the DOTA: Dragon’s Blood trailer.
To an outside observer, 9.2 percent might not seem like a lot. However, in a game with 120 playable characters, it’s pretty impressive. The spike has since begun to peter off, falling to 8.58% by Monday. However, that is still above average for a DOTA 2 character. Only time will tell if he remains a favorite choice for players of the famous MOBA title.
One might expect Davion’s growing popularity to hurt the character’s win to loss ratio. However, that has not exactly been the case. While Dotabuff reports a slight dip over the past few days, it’s nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, the stats have been more or less consistent for the past month.
One explanation might be that Dragon Knight’s sudden popularity is mainly due to existing players gravitating towards the character. Valve expected the release of Dragon’s Blood to result in an almost immediate wave of new players. Many existing fans thought the same, creating the DOTA 2 Community Tutorial Project to get new players up to speed. However, third-party tool Steamdb reported no unusual growth on the 25th. In fact, it saw a three-month low in the number of players. While there was some growth in the following days, it has been nothing outside of the usual fluctuations in DOTA 2’s player count.
An optimistic take could be that existing players steered clear for fear of long waits due to an influx of new players. While that’s possible, it’s arguably more likely that the anime adaptation was simply not the marketing coup Valve expected.
Either way, the situation must be very frustrating for the studio. CDPR’s The Witcher 3 reportedly saw a massive spike in downloads after its successful Netflix production. However, if Valve was hoping for the lighting to strike twice, it has yet to do so.
DOTA 2 is available on PC, DOTA: Dragon’s Blood is available to stream on Netflix.